For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
– Romans 8:22-25
(See below for verses 26-39)
I’ll be reflecting on Romans chapter 8 for these next few days. It seems to me we need some very clear and positive good news, encouragement, and assurance during these increasingly-alarming days.
I spoke with a few people today who needed these words. They are facing cancer treatments in addition to all the other pressures of these days. Their spouses are right along side of them in this battle as well. Their family members are helping as much as possible. But the stresses and challenges of these times loom large.
Maybe you need them as well. We are reminded in the words above that we are groaning as a woman in the pains of childbirth. I don’t know about this personally, but I’ve been there four times and do know about it up close and personal. It’s a challenge! But there is good reason to face the challenge and endure during it: A child is born when it’s all over. What a joy! What a blessing! What a relief!
I believe the same to be true of our present groanings. For we’re not just groaning against the difficulties of the COVID-19 virus. We’re groaning in anticipation of redemption, rescue, and (ultimately) eternal glory. These are difficult days to be sure. But the goodness of God and the hope of our redemption is the anchor for our souls during these difficult days. God doesn’t expect us to say all is well when it is not. But God does expect us to look to him during times of distress and to hold onto the hope of our calling in Jesus Christ.
Let us pray…
Dear Father in heaven, we are groaning these days. The challenges of this present age, the press of physical distancing and isolation, the threat of illness, the worries of finances are relentless. Help us to see these as the groanings and pangs of childbirth. Help us to hope for something more true and real that a mere turn back to normalcy. Help us to see your hand, and remember your love, and hope in your deliverance. Until then give us your Holy Spirit so that we may wait in hope, faith, and love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, one with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
– Romans 8:22-39